With weather dipping to single-digit wind chills to start 2018, DeKalb County children and adults received a gift thanks to a Lithonia-based nonprofit.
Helping Oppressed Mothers Endure (H.O.M.E.), in partnership with Burlington Coat Factory, Delivering Good and Good Morning America, handed out approximately 850 coats and winter jackets Dec. 30 during the “Warm Coats and Warm Hearts” event.
The group gave out coats for seven hours at the Redan Recreation center. H.O.M.E. founder Carolyn Watson said she’s happy to give back to the community.
“We got together and thought, ‘why doesn’t H.O.M.E. do a coat drive?’ Watson said. “God has showed up and showed out…it’s a blessing to know that he has enlarged our territory and given in abundance. People are starting to join us and become a part of H.O.M.E.”
The organization generally distributes donated furniture items to single mothers in need who are starting over, sometimes from divorce or domestic violence situations. Collectively, more than 7,500 moms and children have received sofas, dinette sets, beds, computer desks, TVs, lamps, small appliances, dishes, linen and bedding since the organization’s inception.
H.O.M.E. spokesperson Carolyn Tolbert said the organization expanded its reach in 2017 by participating in different community related events.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, organization officials hand delivered gallons of water to Baytown, Texas. The organization collected approximately 300 cases of water through the month of September.
“We tried to stay in our lane, but you just never know what you will be blessed with,” Tolbert said. “We’re just trying to help as many people as we can and with the coat drive we thought about how cold it is and some of these people need our help now.”
H.O.M.E. also partnered with radio station KISS 104.1 during the event, featuring a live broadcast of the activities.
Leotis Watson, husband of founder Carolyn, said the coat drive was more than just handing out winter clothes. He said it was about getting into the community and lending help to those in need.
“The coats are one thing, but it’s the words of encouragement that go along with it. We are there ministering as we give these coats out,” Leotis Watson said. “So, the coat drive is excellent, but the word is going to exceed the coat drive.”
Watson said the organization is currently in search of a 2,000-plus square foot warehouse to store its donated items.
“We have grown by leaps and bounds and so has our vision for 2018,” Watson said. “We want a building we can call our own.”
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